When purchasing a vehicle, consumers often cannot rely on the information provided by manufacturers. The diesel emissions scandal has made this very clear, but it is not the only example. Car owners often have to spend more money on petrol than they expected because the actual fuel consumption of their new car is higher than the official figure. The information on fuel consumption and emissions provided by manufacturers needs to be more realistic and more reliable. Procedures for testing cars before they are brought to market need to be overhauled so that they reflect the way vehicles are actually driven on the roads. Unrealistic roller test bench procedures need to be replaced with other methods.
The introduction of the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) is a first step. Tests are conducted for longer periods and at higher speeds, and they take account of different engine and transmission variants and special equipment features. However, for a realistic fuel consumption assessment, it is absolutely essential that vehicles are tested on the road. The European Commission thus needs to prepare a proposal for an amendment to Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/11511 as quickly as possible after the European elections with the aim of introducing a road-based testing procedure (real driving emissions - RDE). In addition, effective provisions need to be adopted that limit the acceptable discrepancy between test bench results and RDE values (‘not-to-exceed’ limits). The Commission’s proposal should furthermore include provisions to ensure that fuel consumption data is systematically monitored throughout the production process. These provisions should also stipulate sanctions for breaches.
1 Regulation on type-approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 5 and Euro 6) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information